Jacob Hochstetler Family Gathering
Central Christian High School, Kidron, Ohio
JR Bitikofer, DBH 12403
An Indian attack on a humble home in Pennsylvania in 1757 could have marked the end! But as we think of it today, it was only the beginning for tens of thousands of descendants of Jacob Hochstetler, a 1738 immigrant.
The sparked interest of this massacre and a burning desire to
better understand our forefather's faith and convictions guided
nearly 1000 men, women and children to Kidron, Ohio to
celebrate the 255th anniversary of our ancestor's arrival in
A common bond was felt as Hochstetler Cousins from almost
every vocation began arriving at Central Christian High School
campus at Kidron, Ohio on Saturday morning, July 24.
During registration, family lines were determined and a different
colored ribbon for each of the immigrant Jacob's four surviving
children was attached to their name card. Again, as at the 1988
Goshen Gathering, a number of descendants displayed three
Hardy handskakes were passed between acquaintances that discovered for the first time that they share a common ancestor. Among others, meeting for the first time, friendships were created that will mature into life-long memories.
The forenoon was spent viewing various genealogical exhibits. In addition to the many books and charts available for purchase, also on display were family possessions cherished by the owner and appreciated by the viewer. J. J. Hostetler's wall charts were again a focal point as they covered nearly 84 feet of wall space. Some artifacts and building stone from the bake oven at the massacre site could be examined, and in an adjoining room a video wasshown repeatedly of the massacre` site and some_ family homesteads in Pennsylvania.
Buggy rides were well received by the children and those young-in-heart. The horses and rigs were provided by Abe J. Hochstetler.
At 12:00 noon, a potluck carry-in dinner was enjoyed by everyone with eight lines moving quickly along four tables. An abundance of desserts provided many the opportunity to return to that area and verify the fact "the H/H/H-ers DO like their desserts."
By 2:00 p.m., the main auditorium and balcony were packed to standing room only to hear the Gathering Chairman Paul E. Hostetler, welcome the assemblage. Newsletter. Editor Daniel E. Hochstetler offered prayer and comments, followed by special music from the Hartville Singers Quartet. Mexico and twenty-two states of residence were called out prior to the assembled mass singing "Gott ist die Liebe!" in German. With the aid of an overhead projector, the words were projected on a screen, resulting in a monumental choral selection.
JHFA Chairman Gordon L. Hostetler conducted a brief business session, electing directors for the next five years. "Joseph, Put That Gun Down," a play written by Ken Reed and directed by Lana Hostetler Turner, was presented by a local cast.
Another feature planned for the gathering was a Self Guided Driving Tour of 38 historic home sites, churches and cemeteries in Wayne, Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties. A full day should be scheduled for the tour, or any part of it can still be done at any time. Also included in the 20-page tour booklet are fascinating bits of family history and tradition about these early settlers.
As the day concluded, it was evident that the roots planted by Jacob Hochstetler had grown into a majestic tree with an abundance of branches-reaching in every direction-bathed in the Sunlight of God's blessings.